15 Replies Latest reply: Mar 10, 2012 10:14 PM by robr0602 RSS

    Actual Bookings to Inquiries????

    New Member

      Hello fellow renters.  I am curious how many actual bookings to inquiries you get.  While I am getting a ton of inquiries, not too many bookings.  This would indicate my prices are too high.....our place is in excellent condition and up to date decor.  We have a private pier about 20-30 feet from the ocean channel and a boat slip.  I think this is where my problem is....not sure what adder or increase that is worth over another rental that may just have beachfront access.

       

      Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

        • Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
          Active Contributor

          We also get a lot of "tire kickers" making inquiries, but not booking.  We find that they are contacting many, many rentals at the same time.  I wouldn't assume that your prices are out of line, but you may want to look at the rental price of comparable VR's in your area.  Be realistic -- you love your house, but put yourself in the place of someone who is shopping around.  In our area, the market is saturated with rentals at the moment so, even though our prices are competitive, there are so many choices out there.  Good luck!

          • Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
            Active Contributor

            Your inquiry piqued my curiousity:  102 inquiries since 1/1/11; 28 rentals for March through October 2011 period so far. Have no idea if that's good or bad. This is our 7th year of renting.  I do, however, agree with stjvilla - do a comparison of like homes in your VR area and see if it's a price thing.  If renting is new to you, perhaps it's that potential guests have a sense that they'd like to deal with someone more experienced.  Maybe do a special or discount to get people in there and build a client base and good reviews.  I learned early on that "something is better than nothing" - although the rates we initially charged may not have been what we thought our home was worth, it was income nonetheless and it paid some bills!  Good luck!!

              • Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                Active Contributor

                Hi swrenter,

                Just wanted to let you know there is another great discussion on this same topic in our "Managing Inquiries" Forum.

                All the best,

                Laura

                • Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                  New Member

                  Marym,

                   

                  Good point. I'm very new, just aquired the home, and I'm not even getting replies to my initial responses with the quotes. I try to get all my inquiries replied within a couple of hours, but to date I have not had a single follow up to my responses, granted I'm just starting. I've had only 7 inquiries since starting. 102 inquiries! WOW, 28 rentals, Excellent. I'm jelous. But what most hit home in your response is "something is better than nothing". So true, however I must confess, Im a bit scared, being new at this that the "something" I get in my home turns out to be expensive, if you know what I mean. I'll try Laura's suggestion, and take a look at the "Managing Inquiries" Forum.

                   

                  Thanks and regards, Paul

                  • Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                    Senior Contributor

                    When I first started renting my vacation rentals, I had the same attitude of "something is better than nothing". I was obsessed with renting the property.  Years later and alot of wisdom teaches me something completely different. Something is not always better than nothing.  Inevitably when you lower rates or cuthroat the competition you end up with a completely different mind set of the renters. There are many discussions on this board about quality vs quanitity and the type of renter you draw.  No thank you, I would rather my property sit vacant than to have someone in the property that doesn't appreciate the tens of thousands of dollars in upgrades, the personalized service and attention to detail.

                     

                    swrenter,  hang in there.  This happens to every renter.  There is another discussion on this board of actual inquiry rates vs booking rates.  Mine are only about 1 booking for every 10 inquires and my properties full about 260 days a year.

                      • Re: Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                        New Member

                        Sophie is right on the money! I've rented my townhouse for 9 years and in the beginning I was giving it away to keep up with the market. The result? I ended up withholding a number of damage deposits to compensate for the lack of respect to my property. Eventually, I decided to raise my rate to attract a higher caliber of families. For the past two years, I've had wonderful results. All damage deposits were returned in full and I was delighted in how my rentals took care of my property. I'm not reducing my rates, because it's just not worth it! One other thing...I only allow four people to stay in my two bedroom, 2.5 bath home. This also keeps wear and tear to a minimum. If I receive an inquiry for only 2 people, I consider giving them a discount.

                    • Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                      Contributor

                      SW, I had lots of inquires and no bookings until I brought my rental rates in line with similar rentals in my area.

                      As others have mentioned that would probably be the best place to start.

                      • Re: Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                        New Member

                        Hi:  I agree with Sophie also.  We have been renting out our condo for less than a year.  We have had a boat load of inquiries.  Some have come back and told us that they went somewhere else because we can't allow pets.  I appreciate when people let me know why they went somewhere else.  I have thought about contacting inquiries a couple of times to find out why they went with another rental.  I thought that would be constructive for me.  I don't know if anyone thinks this is a good idea.

                          • Re: Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                            iopbeachhouse Active Contributor

                            I've tried going back and contacting inquiries who never got back to me. Never amounted to anything. Some people told me they had booked something else or changed their plans, but most just don't bother to respond at all. I get a lot of inquiries for small groups and we have a 6 bedroom house. It really doesn't make much sense and it is almost always out of their budget in that case. I haven't had any trouble booking our season, all we have left of the summer is the last week in August, but the amount of inquiries compared to actual bookings is pretty high. I think it's a function of the ability to send multiple inquires so easily without really ever having to look at the details of the property.

                              • Re: Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                                Active Contributor

                                We agree with iopbeachhouse - it seems there are just too many inquiries from people who aren't really serious, maybe just wanting to see what's out there: what someone here called the "scatter shot" approach.  Yesterday we spoke with our on-island agent who gets our inquiries (we do too) and also those for the rest of the houses they manage.  She told us that one day this week, she received inquiries from the same person for 17 different houses for the same week in February 2013!  Unbelievable.  This is a small agency who mostly handle maintenance and cleaning and they don't have time to send 17 different responses advising the availability and cost for each separate house.  And that's just to one person.  Oh, and the woman wanted a discount too, of course.  Yikes!

                                 

                                That said, no reason you couldn't contact people in a friendly way to see if there's something about your house or your response you could improve, but probably you just won't hear back.

                            • Re: Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                              New Member

                              I'm a renter and not a rental property owner.  I have to admit I am guilty of sending around a lot of inquiries before finalizing my decision. I recently booked a 4 week rental but that was after 8-10 inquiries (and my wife may have made others). I can understand your position when it somes to managing all these inquiries so I thought I'd share my experience that led to my numerous inquiries before deciding on a place. I hope it helps.

                               

                              First, I narrowed down my rental to those who replied to my inquiry.  Anyone who did not reply did not get any consideration.  So as tedious as it may be, not replying promptly will only lower your rental-to-inquiry ratio. 

                               

                              Second, more info on the listing should lower inquiries.  Many listings are done very well but, as an example, in my case (seeking a 4-week rental) many listings said "Ask about Multi-week discount", so I asked!  If the listing said "Deduct $100 per week for rentals over 2 weeks long" I would not have needed to send an inquiry. The place I ultimately rented did not mention it included 4 beach tags.  Most beach places do include them so I inquired to the owner and it turned out they were included with the rental but not mentioned in the listing.

                               

                              Third, make sure the listing is accurate! Many people have been burned by renting a place that was not as-advertised so we will confirm our most important amenities by sending inquiries even if the listing addresses those features. I tend to believe the writtern description 100% and have some doubt about the checklist of features. Perhaps putting the most significant amenities in the written description will help. Or maybe that's just me.

                               

                              Fouth, include the rental address and be sure the MAP link is accurate.  Not everyone does this and this was the specific topic for at least 3 of my inquiries. If I'm looking at a  beach town that is 60 blocks long chances are I already know which area I want to be in before logging onto VRBO. I won't have to ask you where you are if it's already included.  Along these lines, I would avoid vague phrases like "Steps to beach" and "stones throw from boardwalk". People trying to make a decision prefer specifics.

                               

                              Fifth, an actual traveler review has a lot of weight and most listings do not have one. Asking your renters (maybe even Incenting them) to do a review may pay dividends. Hearing someone's personal experience renting your house gives a level of comfort (or discomfort) that can make sending inquires unnecessary.  The place I booked had 1 positive and 1 negative review. The negative one was more the renter deperately trying to find stuff to complain about when there was really nothing, which made me feel even better about my decision.

                               

                              Finally, the more pictures then the less uncertainty someone will feel about whether the place is right for them and presumably the less questions they will have to send you.  If a 3BR house only shows two bedrooms and there is no way to know if the third BR has two twins or a  queen bed, then we have to ask.

                               

                               

                              Hope this point of view helps in some way.

                                • Re: Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                                  carol Premier Contributor

                                  These are very important points -- thank you for taking the time to explain your process.  I think I'll edit my entry today to add text for all the amenities. Sometimes the amenities list doesn't quite fit -- e.g. we have a modern mini-split ductless AC system that has wall units in each room -- "central ac" is not quite right, but "room ac units" also doesn't work because most travelers think this means window ac units -- so I've tried to explain as much as possible.

                                   

                                  One suggestion that many owners will resist is the map and exact location.  There are several threads on this list that explain the dangers of letting people know exactly where your rental is, especially since many places are often empty and therefore more vulnerable to burglary.  I've chosen to map my place because my neighbor keeps an eye on it for me when I'm out of town. Still, owners could be more specific about the location without giving away an exact address.

                                    • Re: Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                                      Active Contributor

                                      Totally agree, Carol I'm thinking that the map feature is okay - in fact, I'd say it's vital.  What owners resist is giving a specific address - they think that's setting themselves up for burglaries or bothering guests who may be staying there.   Can't say that I blame them. 

                                    • Re: Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                                      Active Contributor

                                      jchame, I think your response is extremely helpful!

                                       

                                      I think too often I'm only thinking in "owner mode".   I'm pleased to learn and say that the advertisement we have on VRBO for our VR has addressed each and every one of your concerns!  I forget, however, that sometimes other advertisements may NOT!  And I know from using VRBO for my own travels that the message sent on the first inquiry is stored and used for every inquiry. I honestly can't blame travelers for just using the same message for every inquiry they make.  As time consuming as it is for owners to answer every inquiry, I'm certain it's as time consuming for potential guests to make those inquiries.  So when I read an inquiry that asks "How far are you from the beach?" and I get exasperated and think "I clearly say we're a 3-minute golf cart ride from the beach!!", I now know it's because a different ad may not provide that information.   Finally, I think as an owner, I have to start to appreciate that you might be one of say, 30 rentals I may do in a calendar year, and yet it might be your ONE vacation for the year.  So ensuring that you're getting everything you need for the significant price that you'll be paying is important. 

                                       

                                      Thanks for the input!

                                    • Re: Actual Bookings to Inquiries????
                                      New Member

                                      To add another point as a renter:  I have made inquiries when I am not sure if a listing is "fresh".  If the posting doesn't look fresh you're not sure if the renter is still active.  This is very true if the calendar has not been updated in awhile or if there is no calendar.  Also if the listing doesn't look fresh it makes you wonder if the description is still accurate.  I saw a post this year that had pictures with a 2008 date. A different listing had rates for 2010 in the description.  Both triggered me to make an inquiry.

                                       

                                      I think we all have to remember we are as nervous renting from you as you are renting to us.  None of us want to get scammed or work with a difficult party.  So I agree with the above poster that reviews from previous renters are a big positive.  Even bad reviews aren't always a deterrant as it's usually obvious when someone is b.s.-ing or venting verus a real problem.  On the flip side if you have 15 reviews that gush and don't mention one little issue don't help either...at least in my opinion.  It's sort of nice to see when a problem came up (we all know they happen) how the landlord handled the situation.